- Augmented Reality is a critical capability for the industrial frontline.
- The move to Smart Manufacturing technologies makes augmented reality a natural fit given its capabilities.
- Augmented reality delivers an immersive experience with several benefits from guided flows to real-time collaboration.
- Enterprises have seen significant return on investment with AR use cases
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality is about overlaying contextual information on the real world. It is real-time. While executing a task, an operator’s view is enhanced with digital information. The latter is displayed on a mobile device or heads-up display (HUD). This presents an Augmented environment for the operator to view and execute based on real-time information.
AR in Manufacturing
Manufacturing today encompasses complex processes and global supply chains. The value of real-time information exchange at various stages of the product lifecycle is significant. Use of AR in enabling this exchange is very compelling. It can influence product development, training, monitoring lines, quality control, maintenance, and warehousing operations.
Benefits of Augmented Reality
Move workflows to digital with enriched user experience – guided flows, contextual info, hands free, gesture driven, and voice intent based. Integrate enhanced data collection capabilities like image or video capture, annotation, process logging, voice to text, audio capture, etc.
Benefits: Consistent process execution, immersive training, high data reliability, end to end digital trace and increase in throughput
Device capabilities with AR now allow for real-time collaboration anytime, and anywhere. For e.g., a technician onsite can remotely connect with one or more experts anywhere in the world to collaboratively troubleshoot a problem. Additional features allow for a richer engagement.
Benefits: Minimal downtime, reduced processing delays, reduced travel costs, sharing of knowledge, and improved customer satisfaction.
Access to Real-time Info
Workflows are no longer simple checklist or tasks to be checked off. Leveraging data, analytics, and machine learning, real-time information can be presented to the user while working on a specific task. Thus enabling effective decision making and improving process outcomes.
Benefits: High process efficiency, immersive experience, eliminating process delays, and improving speed of execution.
Retaining Process know-how
We are dealing with aging workforce challenges. The loss of knowledge is resulting in significant investment in training and collaboration. AR-based training enables high recall rate (over 80% after 1 year) versus traditional approaches. In addition, capabilities like remote collaboration allow for quick access to expertise.
Benefits: Faster retention, high recall rate, richer training content, sharing of knowledge, and cost effective
Augmented Reality enables a high level of user engagement. Workflows can be built with safety precautions and real-time information to ensure workplace safety. Immersive training provides real world experience. Lastly, AR provides the means to break down barriers thus streamlining frontline experiences.
Benefits: Reduced risk, safety integrated process execution, improved safety metrics, and high ROI.
Augmented Reality - a High ROI use case
In implementing an AR system for its warehouse operations, a leading Automotive OEM indicated an estimated 10% increase in productivity (payback within a few months) in addition to improved data accuracy and the elimination of redundant steps within the current process.
Several such case studies exist today which speak to how AR is streamlining manufacturing processes to work smart and gain the benefits of this technology. Combining this capability with trends like IoT, process automation and machine learning makes this a compelling proposition for manufacturing.